You may have heard of DMT before. It’s one of the most potent psychedelic drugs in the world, especially when it comes to hallucinations. People who take DMT often report that they felt transported to other dimensions, or that their sense of space and time broke in a way that defies explanation. About half of DMT users also report meeting DMT beings—supernatural entities like elves, aliens, or gods. 1
What’s it like to meet an otherworldly being while on DMT? It turns out there’s surprisingly good data on the subject. In a 2020 study, researchers interviewed more than 2,500 people who met otherworldly beings while on DMT. Interestingly, the same few types of beings showed up over and over—and in almost all cases, the meetings were quite positive.
Here’s what happens when people meet DMT beings—and a look at the most common types of supernatural entities you might encounter while on DMT.
What Is DMT?
N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a powerful psychedelic drug. In its pure form, DMT is an off-white crystal. People usually smoke it with a glass pipe or vaporizer.
While most psychedelics (like LSD or psilocybin) last for several hours, a DMT experience is short—typically only a few minutes. But what DMT lacks in duration it makes up for in potency. DMT trips are usually very intense, particularly when it comes to hallucinations and altered perception.
DMT’s effects include 1:
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
- Altered sense of time and space
- Dissociation (feeling like you’ve left your body)
- Enhanced meaning
- Ineffability (experiences that you can’t explain)
- A sense of entering another dimension or plane of existence
- Encounters with beings that seem sentient
What Are DMT Beings?
About half of DMT users report meeting DMT beings—otherworldly entities that appear during a DMT trip. 1
A 2020 study interviewed more than 2,500 people who encountered DMT entities. 1 Most people reported that the entity was capable of thought and emotion and was able to communicate with them. The beings typically had a supernatural form, and in some cases, they were spiritual in some way—either a god, an emissary of God, or some kind of deity.
What It’s Like to Meet a DMT Being
What is it actually like to meet a DMT being?
It may be hard to conceptualize the experience, considering how far removed it is from normal reality. Nonetheless, the 2020 study referenced above provides some insight 1. Participants answered a variety of questions about their encounter. Here are some takeaways:
- 69% of people said the entity started the encounter
- The primary senses involved in the encounter were:
- Visual (92%)
- Extrasensory (like telepathy; 85%)
- Auditory (54%)
- Tactile (physical touch; 34%)
- 89% of people said they communicated with the entity
- 49% said communication was one-way—from the entity to them
- 40% said the communication was two-way conversation
- 99% of people said they had an emotional response during the encounter. The most common emotions were:
- Joy (65%)
- Trust (63%)
- Surprise (61%)
- Love (59%)
- Kindness (56%)
- Friendship (48%)
- Fear (41%)
- Sadness (13%)
- Distrust (10%)
- Disgust (4%)
- Anger (3%)
- 58% of people said the entity also had an emotional response during the encounter. The most common emotions were:
- Love (17%)
- Kindness (11%)
- Joy (2%)
- Most people said the experience felt more real than normal reality during (81%) and after (65%) the encounter
- 49% of people said the entity existed in a real, but different dimension or reality
- 26% said the entity existed in both a different reality and in our normal reality
- 72% of people said they believe the entity continued to exist after their encounter
- 80% of people said the experience altered their fundamental conception of reality
- 63% of people who were atheists before the encounter reported that, after their DMT trip, that they believed in an “ultimate reality, higher power, God, or universal divinity.”
- About 60% of people rated the encounter as one of the five most personally meaningful, spiritually significant, or psychologically insightful experiences of their lives
- 32% said the encounter was one of the five most challenging experiences of their lives
Long-Term Effects of a DMT Entity Encounter
Most people reported that their encounter caused positive long-term changes to their mental health.
- 89% reported increased long-term wellbeing and life satisfaction
- 82% said the encounter helped them find their life’s purpose
- 81% reported a lasting increase in their life’s meaning
- 70% said they had better social relationships after the experience
- 88% reported a lasting improvement in their attitude about life
- 84% reported a lasting improvement in self-esteem
- 67% said they had improved mood
- 71% reported positive changes to their behavior
Only 1-5% of people reported negative long-term changes in any of the above domains after their DMT trip.
It seems that, for most people, meeting an otherworldly being while on DMT is a good experience with lasting positive effects.
The Most Common DMT Beings People Meet
One of the most interesting parts of this research is that people seem to meet the same kinds of DMT entities over and over.
Here are the most common words people used to describe the entities they met:
- Being (60%)
- Guide (43%)
- Spirit (39%)
- Alien (39%)
- Helper (34%)
- Angel (16%)
- Elf (14%)
- Religious personage (11%)
- Plant spirit (10%)
- Fairy (8%)
- Clown (6%)
- Demon (6%)
- Gnome (5%)
- Monster (3%)
- Devil (2%)
Researchers also asked participants to describe the entities’ attributes. The most common responses were:
- Conscious (96%)
- Intelligent (96%)
- Benevolent (78%)
- Sacred (70%)
- Had agency in the world (54%)
- Positively judgmental (52%)
A smaller percentage of people described the beings as “negatively judgmental” (16%) or “malicious” (11%).
Why are there common themes in DMT encounters?
Generally, DMT beings seem to be sacred, positive, and otherworldly, and they seem to show up in a few common forms—as guides, spirits, aliens, angels, elves, and so on.
Why is there so much commonality between DMT experiences? One explanation, of course, is that nonhuman entities exist in another dimension somewhere, and that people actually meet them while on DMT.
In a 2018 study, researchers proposed a more likely explanation. Most of us grow up hearing shared cultural ideas about aliens, angels, ghosts, elves, spirits, and so on. Those mythological concepts exist in your psychology, and DMT’s hallucinatory effects cause your brain to “bring them to life,” so to speak. 2
Frequently Asked Questions about DMT Beings
Here are a few frequently asked questions about DMT beings.
Are DMT beings real?
DMT causes strong hallucinations, many of which are immersive and can seem as real as our normal reality. About half of people who take DMT report meeting some kind of supernatural entity during their DMT experience. Higher doses of DMT may increase the likelihood of having a mystical encounter.
According to the survey, 72% of people said they believe the entity continued to exist after their encounter.
What do people see while on DMT?
About half of people who take DMT encounter some kind of mystical entity during their DMT trip. According to a large-scale study published in 2020, people on DMT entities commonly appear as spirits, guides, aliens, and elves, among other forms.
Are DMT encounters scary?
About 41% of people report feeling fear when they meet a DMT entity. However, close to 90% of people say that the encounter caused a positive long-term change in their wellbeing, and fewer than 5% of people say that the encounter was negative.
DMT encounters are a strange phenomenon. Researchers still don’t fully understand why they happen, or why they seem to have such a lasting impact on the people who experience them.
Researchers are currently studying DMT as a possible tool for therapy. It’s not yet clear whether there are therapeutic benefits to DMT, or how entity encounters factor into those experiences.
One thing, however, is clear: DMT offers an interesting window into perceived encounters with supernatural beings—a phenomenon that people have reported since the beginning of recorded human history.
1. Davis AK, Clifton JM, Weaver EG, Hurwitz ES, Johnson MW, Griffiths RR. Survey of entity encounter experiences occasioned by inhaled N,N-dimethyltryptamine: Phenomenology, interpretation, and enduring effects. J Psychopharmacol (Oxford). 2020;34(9):1008-1020. doi:10.1177/0269881120916143
2. Winkelman MJ. An ontology of psychedelic entity experiences in evolutionary psychology and neurophenomenology. Journal of Psychedelic Studies. 2018;2(1):5-23. doi:10.1556/2054.2018.002